The Papua New Guinea government "hasn't given up" on eventually having its own team in the National Rugby League, according to Eoin Blackwell of the AAP. Rugby league is "hugely popular" in PNG and its 7 million residents, and it is the only country that has the NRL as its national sport. Coordination between teams, the game's governing body and the government "has stymied growth opportunities" in the past. However, PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko is now hopeful a meeting of the game's stakeholders and their int'l counterparts in late November "will act as a catalyst for change and growth in the sport" in his country. Tkatchenko said, "The game is stuck, that's what we're facing right now." He added, "If we can't get in on the NRL by setting up our own team -- look at the logistics, it's going to cost an absolute fortune -- but if we can get in [an Australian] team that's already set up with all the facilities there with a team that's on the way up, then why try and re-create the wheel that's already there?" Newly appointed PNG bid Chair Powes Parkop is looking to buy into either the Brisbane Broncos or North Queensland Cowboys. Parkop believes that there is "a great opportunity to collaborate with Australian clubs given the untapped talent in the country" (AAP, 9/26).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Motorsport governing body (FIA) Race Dir Charlie Whiting "gave the green light for the newly built Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas," according to KRONE.at. Whiting said in a statement: "Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that’s been made since the last time that I was here is amazing. The guys have done an awesome job -- it really is quite fantastic! It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever." The 5.5-km Circuit of the Americas, which will host the U.S. Grand Prix on Nov. 16-18, was designed by German F1 Architect Herman Tilke (KRONE.at, 9/26).
Thirteen years after its launch by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, the Goal Program has reached a new milestone. A total of 600 Goal projects in 199 member associations have been implemented, representing a total investment of $250M by FIFA. Goal Program has highlighted the principle of solidarity, with Africa as the main beneficiary of funds (166 projects allocated to the region’s member associations) followed by Asia (147), Europe (111), North, Central America and the Caribbean (99), Oceania (42) and South America (35). Blatter said, "More important than the figures is the fact that the Goal Program and all other FIFA development programs are having a concrete and positive impact on local communities, thus enabling FIFA to fulfil its mission: develop the game, touch the world and build a better future." Goal funds have mainly been used to create football infrastructure, including technical centres (35% of the overall investment), headquarters (25%), football pitches (24%) and football academies (4%). Further investments have been made in IT applications (3%) and miscellaneous items such as medical centres and futsal halls (9%) (FIFA).
The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) "has changed its position" and said that it will examine all the contracts signed during the Teixeira era, according to Rodrigo Mattos of UOL.com.br. CBF President José Maria Marin "promised to examine" all the contracts signed by the CBF in relation to the national team during the leadership of his predecessor Ricardo Teixeira. Marin said, "We are going to review everything. I can tell you we are going to examine all of them to see where there is a possibility of increasing revenue." The CBF currently earns less money in its deal for friendly matches with International Sports Events than it did with the previous company Kentaro. Teixeira renewed the ISE deal "shortly before resigning from the presidency" (UOL.com.br, 9/26).
The Pakistan Cricket Board is ready to "provide facilities at its state of the art National Cricket Academy to train and groom players of associate members of the Asian Cricket Council," according to IANS. A PCB official, demanding anonymity, said that the board had "completed its homework to provide the facilities on demand to countries like China, Bahrain, Iran and Maldives." The official said, "PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf extended offer to the ACC associate members, and PCB would provide all kind of support to improve skills of their players at our training academies." Ashraf "extended this offer during the meeting of the ACC Development Committee in Islamabad on Monday," which was scheduled to discuss the development aspects of the sports in the region (IANS, 9/26).
HELP! I NEED SOMEBODY: The PTI reported that Asian Cricket Council CEO Ashraful Huq of Bangladesh has "made it clear that his organization cannot help in reviving int'l cricket in Pakistan, as it is the responsibility of the International Cricket Council." Huq said, "The ACC can't do anything to revive international cricket in Pakistan, this has to be done by the ICC." PCB Chair Ashraf, meanwhile said that "his foremost priority is to bring int'l cricket back to Pakistan." He also urged all the member countries to "help Pakistan in its cause." Ashraf said, "Our main task is to bring back international matches to our country, as our people have been deprived of watching their team play at home" (PTI, 9/25).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is "all set to revamp its senior selection committee" by making at least four changes in the five-man panel following the completion of their term, according to the PTI. Four members of the current panel, including Chief Selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth, are to "depart after having completed their tenure of four years." Srikkanth (South Zone) and fellow Selectors Narendra Hirwani (Central), Raja Venkat (East) and Surendra Bhave (West) have "completed their term and are not eligible to continue" based on the Board's norms, which have not been followed strictly in the past. The incumbent panel's fifth Selector, Mohinder Amarnath (North), has completed just one year of his tenure and "can be re-appointed provided the Board members --especially from North -- are in his favour." The final decision on the appointment of selectors, who would get a Rs 40 lakh ($78,000) annual salary, "lies with the Board members after they get feedback from the zones" (PTI, 9/26).